Dr. Anthony DeLuca, SUNY Old Westbury

Anthony L. DeLuca, Ph.D. has been a member of the Northeast Regional Honors Council since 2012 when he began serving at SUNY College at Old Westbury, in Old Westbury, New York, as Director of its Honors College.  He has more than 30 years of experience in higher education—15 years as a professor of English and 15 years successively as an academic director, as an assistant dean and as a dean of Academic Affairs. He has taught primarily at senior colleges and universities and served as an administrator at junior and senior colleges. He returned to a director’s position at SUNY Old Westbury out of a desire to help students excel academically and to create an educational environment that meets the needs of the world they will enter after college. He regards himself as strong proponent of a Liberal Arts education, but also has great respect for the latest developments in Civil Studies.  To that end, he has begun the Social Media Project and the Social Entrepreneurial Incubator at SUNY Old Westbury’s Honors College. Through these two projects, students gain real world experience immediately without waiting for an internship in their sophomore or junior year.  They educate themselves about a problem that needs to be addressed on campus, in their local community, in New York State and in the U.S.  Then they educate others, contacting local government, philanthropic, and business professionals to raise seed money where needed. Most importantly, students use their education, skills and good will to help others and make the world a better place for all by disseminating important information in effective ways and by starting businesses that contribute to the good of society.

Anthony believes that as President of the NRHC, he can help guide the future development and growth of what he regards as a wonderful organization that changes the lives of students every year at conferences and via the daily academic and social interactions that the NRHC provides for honors students, faculty and staff.

President-elect and 2019 Conference Chair

Professor Kathryn MacDonald, Monroe College

Kat MacDonald is the Coordinator of the Honors Program and a faculty member in the English Department at Monroe College. She holds a Master’s degree in Mass Media and Communication from Fordham University and bachelor’s degrees in English, Communication Arts, and Women’s Studies from the College of New Rochelle. Before coming to Monroe College as a full-time faculty member (she was an adjunct first) in 2010, she served on the editorial team of Reader’s Digest.

Serving the students in her college’s Honors Program has been most rewarding. She believes NRHC gives students the opportunity to present their research, collaborate with their peers, and become exposed to new ideas and places. She has had the pleasure of mentoring the Student Reps since 2013, when her first student served in Niagara Falls. Subsequently, two students from her institution served at Cambridge in 2015. Another of her students served as Student Representative in Pittsburgh in 2017. She is excited to serve in the role of President-elect for the 2019 conference in Baltimore. Watching the students grow and learn is extremely satisfying. Kat believes that honors is all about the students, and we are here to make that experience unforgettable. Kat can be reached at

Vice President

Dr. Irina Ellison, Mercy College

Irina Ellison (B.A., Biology, Vassar College; Ph.D., Pathology, New York Medical College) is an Associate Professor and Program Head of Health Science and CoDirector of the Honors Program at Mercy College. She is passionate about improving science literacy by guiding her students toward making meaningful connections between science and other disciplines. She co-founded and co-directs the Art in the Lab Workshops (, which give scientists and artists the opportunity to collaborate to create art based on active laboratory experiences. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on public health of cigarette smoking as well as the intersection of hunger, education and violence against women. Dr. Ellison is thrilled to bring her passion about and experience with interdisciplinary education, service learning and building human connections to the Northeast Regional Honors Council as Vice President of the Executive Board.

Immediate Past President

Ms. Helen-Margaret Nasser, Kingsborough Community College

Helen-Margaret Nasser is the Director of the Student Union and Intercultural Center (SU&IC) at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to this role, Nasser served as Associate Director of the Honors Program and the Executive Assistant to the Associate Provost for eight years. Nasser holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University (Canada) in political science and international development studies and a master’s degree in political science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she concentrated on Middle East identity and civil society politics. She has been the administrator for the NEH funded Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation grant at Kingsborough and has supported faculty in their course redesign, innovations and event planning around themes of democracy, diversity, and community. She is heavily involved in civic engagement efforts, organizes the colleges annual Immigration Day events, and offers extensive support to students. Nasser also serves as the Advisor for the Honors Club and the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter on campus. She is very pleased to engage the students in civic engagement and social justice projects in this role. Nasser has also volunteered with Heifer International and has co-chaired benefit events in the Brooklyn area grossing over $50,000 for the organization. Prior to working at Kingsborough, Helen served as a staff member at the Student World Assembly from 2007 to 2009.


Dr. Michael Tasto, Southern New Hampshire University

Dr. Michael Tasto is a Professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Finance and Economics at Southern New Hampshire University. His primary research fields of interest is urban and regional economics and has been an Excellence in Teaching Nominee at SNHU in 2009 and 2010.

He received his B.S. in Economics from St. John’s University in 2001, his M.A in Economics in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Economics in 2007 from Georgia State University.

He has given numerous presentations at academic conferences, published peer-reviewed journal articles, and co-edited 2 books on entrepreneurship.

He currently serves as Treasurer for the SNHU Professional Employees Association and was one of the lead negotiators for the Association’s 5-year faculty and staff contract (representing over 1,600 employees).


Associate Professor, Nassau Community College

Richard Cohen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomical, Geological, Atmospheric, Physical, and Environmental Sciences at Nassau Community College in Long Island, N.Y. where he specializes in teaching courses in weather and climate.  Additionally, he has served as the Co-Coordinator of the Honors Program since 2015 and is the advisor for the Honors Club.  Prof. Cohen holds a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Penn State University, a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Adelphi University in N.Y., and is a Doctoral candidate in the Science Education program at Stony Brook University in N.Y.  His current research is focused on the connection between science and mathematics coursework and the graduation and transfer rates of non-math and non-science majors at Community Colleges.  Prior to working at Nassau, Richard was a high school teacher in Long Island and New York City for eight years.

Richard believes the NRHC provides an incredible opportunity for students who are just beginning their academic careers to get experience presenting at conferences and he is excited by the opportunity to serve the organization.  Richard can be reached at

Web Editor

Chris Brittain, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Chris Brittain is the Assistant Director of the Ramapo College of New Jersey Honors Program. He graduated from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communication Media and in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. He has been working with Honors Programs in the Northeast Region for twelve years and co-created the Pennsylvania Honors Development Conference in 2012. In addition to being the Web Editor for the Northeast Regional Honors Council for the past two years, he spends much of his time pursuing interests in web design, photography, and event-planning. Chris’s email address is

Faculty Representatives

Professor Linda Kobylarz, Post University

Linda Kobylarz, M.Ed. is the Director of the Honors Program at Post University. Over the six years of her tenure, she has collaborated with faculty and administration to create and develop the program to its current size of 230 students. The program follows the benchmarks and guidelines of NCHC.

For the past five years, Linda’s students have attended and presented at the NRHC conferences. Linda has been a frequent presenter at the NCHC conferences. Watching her students have amazing experiences at the conferences has encouraged her to become more involved and to help NRHC further its mission.

Linda has served as President of the Connecticut Counseling Association (CCA) and on the Board of Directors for the National Career Development Association (NCDA). She was recipient of CCA’s Professional Development Award and CCA’s Leadership Award, as well as NCDA’s Outstanding Career Practitioner Award. Linda is excited to continue her service with NRHC.

Dr. Matthew S. Ward, Daeman College

Dr. Matthew S. Ward is an Associate Professor at Daemen College and serves as the Director of the Daemen College Honors Program. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Hiram College (with Honors), Dr. Ward earned his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. After completing his Ph.D., Matthew accepted a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellowship at Furman University in South Carolina. As a graduate of a small liberal arts college with a strong background in undergraduate research, Dr. Ward hopes to provide Daemen students the foundation to pursue goals beyond their initial expectations. In his role as Honors Program Director, Dr. Ward actively recruits students to apply to and complete the requirements for the Daemen College Honors Program. Additionally, Matthew encourages students to present their research findings at the Northeast Regional Honors Council conference.

Conference Assistant

Nathalie Waldschmidt, University of Ottawa

Nathalie Waldschmidt graduated with a BBA in Business Management from Monroe College, New York in December 2017. She then worked for their Honors Program as an administrative assistant until August 2018.

Nathalie is currently pursuing an MA in Communication at the University of Ottawa (Canada) with a focus on organizational communication.

In 2016, she served as student representative for the NRHC conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since the summer of 2016, Nathalie has been supporting the Executive Board as conference assistant.

During her time as a student, Nathalie acted as president of the Honors Student Board, she was a member of the NCHC Student Affairs Committee, and she was also active as an editor for UReCA, the NCHC web journal of undergraduate research.

Her role as conference assistant includes supporting the president-elect in the planning of the upcoming conference, organizing room assignments, creating the conference program, and securing sponsorships. Nathalie’s email address is

Student Representatives

Chantel Bunting, Monroe College

I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Monroe College. Being recommended to be a part of the Honors Program as a freshman gave me a foundation for which I could challenge myself academically, as well as participate in social and volunteer activities. Therefore, I not only saw the program as a community, but to a larger extent, a family that has inspired and supported me in accomplishing my goals. To this day, I remain grateful for the opportunity to be an editor for our Honors Newsletter, serve as the Vice President of the New Rochelle campus and present at the NRHC Conference in Rhode Island. The knowledge, support and experience thus far has motivated me to extend myself on a larger scale to collaborate with students and board members in suggesting, developing and implementing solutions to create an even more successful conference in the near future.

Acknowledging the success of the NRHC Conference in Providence spurred my interest in applying to become a Student Representative. My time, thus far, as the Vice President has encouraged and strengthened my ability to work as a team player and plan various activities for each semester; therefore, making me a suitable candidate whose capabilities will aid in the success of the conference in Baltimore. Taking note of the diversity that exists within the northeast region, I look forward to improving the level of interconnectedness during the activities and events scheduled. In addition, I also see where improvements can be made in executing a vibrant Games Night as well as other events which will increase the number of students in attendance and the overall interaction of students. Finally, a part of success for me speaks to not only academics, but also my involvement in school and other programs. Therefore, I look forward to supporting and enhancing the student experience in NRHC.

Nathanael Linton, Pace University

I am 20 years old, and I am a student at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. My major is history, and I have just successfully finished my junior year. My vision is to complete law school after receiving my bachelor’s degree, become a practicing lawyer and eventually become a judge in the future.

I am excited to be a student representative for NRHC because honors has always been a part of my life. I have always challenged myself by taking honors classes, starting in high school. I started my post-secondary education at SUNY Orange before transferring to Pace in my junior year. Although the transition was difficult at times, I made my best effort to continue and increase my involvement in honors at Pace, just as I did in SUNY Orange. At SUNY Orange, I served on the Honors Advisory Board and represented the honors program at various speaking events. I had the privilege of presenting at the NRHC conferences two years in a row, and became the inaugural recipient of the 2017 “Student of the Year for Two-Year Institutions.”

Honors, for me, stretches beyond academics and seeps into my personal life. I was able to portray this message in a small piece I wrote for the NRHC blog titled: “Honors: Beneath the Surface.” As an honors student I believe it is important to give back to the community that has done so much for me. At Pace, I am the newly-elected President of the Pfrozheimer Honors College Student Council for the 2018-2019 academic school year. I recently had the opportunity to represent Pace and the Honors College at the 9th Annual Texas A&M History Conference in Texas.

I was able to attend the NRHC conferences for the past three years, and I am looking forward to presenting my thesis at the 2019 conference in Baltimore. Attending the conference over the years has exposed me to different types of conference programming aimed to engage the students in the Honors community. I believe I will be an effective student representative by working as a team along with the other student representative to bring students from all over the region to connect and form a network that will last a lifetime.

As an NRHC Student Representative, I plan to give back to the Honors community that has helped me grow in my abilities and confidence as a student. Everything that I have accomplished as an honors student is not because of my own self, but the individuals along the way who have supported me. Honors has been a second family to me, and I want to continue to support honors and higher learning for as long as I can.